Orioles have now beaten themselves three times this season

April 07, 2013|Kevin Cowherd

Beautiful blue sky at Camden Yards on Sunday. Not a cloud in sight. In fact, it was so beautiful it helped cost the Orioles a win.

Here's what you take from that 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins: The Orioles are 3-3 to start the new season. And in all three losses, they basically beat themselves.

The high fly ball to Adam Jones in the third inning off the bat of Twins clean-up hitter Justin Morneau was a case in point.

Two on, two out and it looked like a can of corn or whatever other cliché you want to use.

But the Gold Glove center fielder staggered under it almost from the start, fighting the high sky and the sun and maybe the stiff breeze a little bit, too.

Seconds later, the ball dropped harmlessly between Jones and left fielder Nolan Reimold for a double as two runs scored and the O's lead was cut to 3-2.

"It went in the sun and I missed it," Jones said. "Should've gotten around it better. Mistake. It cost us a couple runs. [Jason] Hammel's out there giving his heart out. A play like that, I gotta make it, pretty much."

"I assumed he had it," Reimold said. "By the time he said he needed help, it was a little too late."

But that's the kind of game it was for the Orioles and it spoiled what could have been a terrific opening weekend at Camden Yards.

The weather was great for the entire three-game series against the Twins. And Orioles fans were hungry for baseball after last year's magical run to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

With an announced crowd of 34,431 in the house Sunday, it brought the three-day total to 121,788, which practically left team officials giddy.

Except the Orioles didn't cooperate with how they played, losing back-to-back games to the weak-sister Twins, who finished 66-96 and in last place in the American League Central last season and will probably finish last again this year.

Maybe this was an omen: pop star Carly Rae Jepsen plunked a little kid in the forehead while warming up to throw out the first pitch.

The little kid didn't cry, but a wide-eyed Jepsen gasped as if she'd hit the kid with a tomahawk. I'm guessing it didn't do a whole lot for Jepsen's confidence, either, although at least she didn't bounce the first pitch in the dirt.

In any event, it was the second night in a row that a defensive miscue killed the Orioles, which is not the way you want to start the season.

In the 6-5 loss to the Twins on Saturday night, it was Chris Davis who was handcuffed by a bouncer to first off the bat of Aaron Hicks.

The ball shot into right field as the Orioles first baseman punched his mitt and stared at it as if it was going in the trash the minute he got back to the dugout.

Three batters later, Morneau ripped a two-out single against closer Jim Johnson to break a 5-5 tie and the Orioles had kicked another one away.

And if you go back to that 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays last week, the one where the O's kept giving up the lead and ultimately lost on Matt Joyce's walk-off homer off Tommy Hunter, it's three games they've basically gift-wrapped for the other team.

So now the Orioles head off to Boston for three against the Red Sox and then on to New York for three against the Yankees as the long battle for the AL East begins in earnest.

We're only six games into the season, which is way too early to read a whole lot into how the Orioles have been playing.

Still, none of the Orioles were happy with the way they'd played to finish off this homestand.

Jones is absolutely killing it at the plate — he had another two hits Sunday to lift his average to .538.

But losing that fly ball will eat at him for days. And in the subdued Orioles post-game clubhouse Sunday, he got a little testy with a reporter who asked him if the Orioles were happy with their 3-3 record.

"Are you happy with it?" Jones shot back, before seeming to collect himself.

"I think we're happy," he continued. "Obviously you can be 6-0. You can be 0-6. You can be 4-2. We got 156 to go. It's a long season. We gotta get on the plane, get back on the road and play baseball.

"We can't give these teams extra outs. They make you pay."

Almost always, as the Orioles found out this weekend.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.om

twitter.com/kevincowherdsun

Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."

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